The holidays are hallmarked by warm sweaters, festive drinks, and fellowship with family and friends. While this can be a wonderful time of year, it is also the hardest time of the year for others.
It’s common to have feelings of sadness that last throughout the holiday season—especially during the months of November and December. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, are experiencing financial stress, are battling an illness that makes it difficult to travel and do the things you enjoy, have experienced a breakup or are just not feeling like yourself.
Regardless of the circumstance, if you’re struggling with this time of year, here are 3 tips we encourage you to try:
- Talk to a therapist
A therapist can help you identify your triggers and patterns that contribute to feelings of sadness, anxiety, numbness, stress and depression. You can learn to work through and eventually replace those thoughts and feelings with more helpful, supportive ones.
- Don’t Isolate Yourself
Sadness often makes you want to be by yourself at home. Look for ways that you can enjoy social connections, even if you aren’t able to go home for the holidays. Ask a friend to come over for dinner and a movie, consider volunteering for an organization you are passionate about, or take a vacation and travel to a new place so you can start a new tradition that will help you form more positive memories.
- Learn to Say ‘No’
The holidays often mean that there are more people asking for help and making demands on your time and resources. Holiday party invites can turn into stressful social obligations. Small favors for friends can morph into huge projects that you didn’t anticipate. Avoid overcommitting by knowing your limits and learning how to say “no.”
If you or a loved one is struggling with feelings of depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.